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Why Can't Evolution Go Backwards?

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posted on Nov, 28 2007 @ 06:09 PM
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Originally posted by ben91069
Let me tell you a secret. It makes no sense to me as it is too unpredictable and self-contradictory. For example, it is possible to evolve into a self-destructive entity, which denies that we evolve to be the survival of the fittest. Is killing yourself by whatever means, survival?


If something's DNA mutates so that its chances of survival are less, not greater, than it's likely it will die out and not pass on the mutation. Of course, there are other evolutionary branches that result in the death of an organism after reproduction (salmon, for example). This is likely in an effort to reduce the load on the food supply/population as a whole, but still encourage genetic diversity and the propagation of the species. It doesn't appear to be survival of an organism that's the driving force, but survival of the species as a whole.




posted on Nov, 28 2007 @ 06:17 PM
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backwards evolution?

If we keep pumping crap into the environment ... and into our bodies ... I think it WILL happen. It may already be happening. People appear to be getting dumber and dumber. Seriously .. look at the state the world is in.



posted on Nov, 28 2007 @ 06:30 PM
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Originally posted by FlyersFan
backwards evolution?

If we keep pumping crap into the environment ... and into our bodies ... I think it WILL happen. It may already be happening. People appear to be getting dumber and dumber. Seriously .. look at the state the world is in.


Which wouldn't be backwards evolution. It would be evolution that favored lower intelligence for some sort of survival reason (perhaps less oxygen/energy used by the brain and more for the rest of the body). As has already been mentioned in this thread, evolution doesn't have a direction. It simply goes where it goes.

My opinion is that people are becoming less and less intelligent because they're lazy and refuse to learn. I don't think evolution really plays a part in that, though, I could be mistaken.



posted on Nov, 29 2007 @ 03:25 PM
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Hmm, interesting point about atavism and the return of the sexual reproduction of a previously asexual mite. OK, if evolution is by default directionless then why does the evolution of man look so darn unidirectional?

Moreover, the fossil record should throw up anomalies where there have been swings to ape-like then to man-like then back to ape-like. Why is the fossil record so supportive of the textbook model? If we look at the genetic mutation process, it should be blind to the forces of change.

Incidentally, the OrchOR model appears to rule out the possibility of computers being able to approach certain tiling problems and therefore militates against AI evolving to the full complexity of human emotional and social intelligence.



posted on Nov, 29 2007 @ 05:10 PM
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Originally posted by Heronumber0
Why is the fossil record so supportive of the textbook model?


Because the same guys that dug up the fossil record are the same guys that wrote the textbook model. These are also the same guys that will be looking for a job if the public stops swallowing the swill.
Put any pile of rocks together and say “create a theory based on the patters you see in these rocks”. You would get as many theories as there are theorists.
Tell them they only get paid if the theory matches a certain criteria and they will all fall in line.



posted on Nov, 29 2007 @ 08:36 PM
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Originally posted by Heronumber0
Hmm, interesting point about atavism and the return of the sexual reproduction of a previously asexual mite. OK, if evolution is by default directionless then why does the evolution of man look so darn unidirectional?


Because you have a false assumption of what the "direction" of evolution is. What determines that it's going along in a single direction? Is it "forward" if it only gets more complex? There are certain things that humans have been losing over the centuries, and there are things that humans have gained. At which point is it forward and at which point is it backwards?



Moreover, the fossil record should throw up anomalies where there have been swings to ape-like then to man-like then back to ape-like. Why is the fossil record so supportive of the textbook model? If we look at the genetic mutation process, it should be blind to the forces of change.


Just because there are cases where man hasn't gone back to a primitive state does not mean that evolution always moves in a single direction. If there was a case where an earlier mutation was preferable and increased chances of survival, and those within the population who had that mutation were more successful at reproduction, then things would move "backwards". Whales are an example where creatures apparently started in the water, evolved to land mammals, and then went back to the water. So did they evolve "backwards", or was that simply another step in their evolution?



Incidentally, the OrchOR model appears to rule out the possibility of computers being able to approach certain tiling problems and therefore militates against AI evolving to the full complexity of human emotional and social intelligence.


I don't see any reason why AI couldn't achieve the same capabilities has humans given enough time. I certainly wouldn't presume to say it was impossible simply because it's not currently possible.



posted on Dec, 1 2007 @ 03:41 PM
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Originally posted by shoran

Because you have a false assumption of what the "direction" of evolution is. What determines that it's going along in a single direction? Is it "forward" if it only gets more complex? There are certain things that humans have been losing over the centuries, and there are things that humans have gained. At which point is it forward and at which point is it backwards?


Look, I have defined what I meant by forwards and backwards. Let me clarify man-like (consciousness and) ambulation to ape-like ambulation (and consciousness) I would define as backwards because the nature of existence and what it means may not be as significant to an ape as it is to a human. It is the nature of human-ness that I define as a forward step.


Originally posted by shoran
Just because there are cases where man hasn't gone back to a primitive state does not mean that evolution always moves in a single direction. If there was a case where an earlier mutation was preferable and increased chances of survival, and those within the population who had that mutation were more successful at reproduction, then things would move "backwards".


Where does the human fossil record allow for a 'backwards' evolutionary move? Why is it that we assume that human like creatures have only been here for 2 million years? Why can't we imagine that God has programmed human existence into this mega computer called the Earth so that separate waves of humanity have come and been obliterated over and over for hundreds of millions of years? Why? Because our atheist scientists do not belive in any human fossils or artefacts that may be older than 10-20,000 years old because it follows a scientific paradigm that cannot be disturbed or refuted.

What if Noah's flood occurred 10 - 100 million years ago and the Ark has now become fossilised? Would you think again?




[edit on 1/12/2007 by Heronumber0]



posted on Dec, 1 2007 @ 04:30 PM
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Originally posted by Heronumber0
Look, I have defined what I meant by forwards and backwards. Let me clarify man-like (consciousness and) ambulation to ape-like ambulation (and consciousness) I would define as backwards because the nature of existence and what it means may not be as significant to an ape as it is to a human. It is the nature of human-ness that I define as a forward step.


Hence the false assumption that evolution has a direction.
I understand your feelings on the subject, but I don't think evolution nor science would agree with you.



Where does the human fossil record allow for a 'backwards' evolutionary move? Why is it that we assume that human like creatures have only been here for 2 million years? Why can't we imagine that God has programmed human existence into this mega computer called the Earth so that separate waves of humanity have come and been obliterated over and over for hundreds of millions of years? Why? Because our atheist scientists do not belive in any human fossils or artefacts that may be older than 10-20,000 years old because it follows a scientific paradigm that cannot be disturbed or refuted.

What if Noah's flood occurred 10 - 100 million years ago and the Ark has now become fossilised? Would you think again?


As far as I know, there's not been any observable evidence that humans have gone through such changes more than once. The reason people don't look at these things under the assumption that God has programmed human existence into anything is because there's no observable, testable evidence to support it. There's also no observable, testable evidence with regard to human fossils, artifacts, etc., that are older than what is assumed to be the length of humanity's existence.

Science is about devising hypotheses, observing and testing evidence that supports or refutes those hypotheses, and then revising said hypotheses until they're believed to be correct by supporting evidence. If artifacts and fossils are available that can be tested (also through scientific methods) to ensure their validity, then that's evidence refuting current hypotheses and theories so that they can be re-evaluated. To my knowledge, no such evidence exists at this time, therefore, the current theories stand.

It seems to me that you're approaching science as if it's some alternate religion, and that's really not the case. It doesn't operate that way.

[edit on 12/1/2007 by shoran]



posted on Dec, 1 2007 @ 04:49 PM
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Originally posted by shoran

Hence the false assumption that evolution has a direction.
I understand your feelings on the subject, but I don't think evolution nor science would agree with you.


But that does get closer to my point. If there is no direction just evolution, then there is no reason, apart from the usual Natural Selection factors, to stop men developing into apes. For example if grasslands were not found in a biome for a significant amount of time then, by your reasoning, Natural Selection would favour apes not men. Why don't we find genetic and anatomical features that favour climbing behaviour in jungle tribes?



Originally posted by shoran
As far as I know, there's not been any observable evidence that humans have gone through such changes more than once. The reason people don't look at these things under the assumption that God has programmed human existence into anything is because there's no observable, testable evidence to support it. There's also no observable, testable evidence with regard to human fossils, artifacts, etc., that are older than what is assumed to be the length of humanity's existence.


Oh yes, I've been thinking about that. what about this one:

Skeletons of ten perfectly modern humans have been excavated from fifty eight feet down in the Dakota Sandstone, over an area spanning about 50 by 100 feet. This formation is a member of the Lower Cretaceous, supposedly 140 million years old. It is known for its dinosaurs and is the same formation found at Dinosaur National Monument. At least four of the ten individuals are female. One is an infant. Some of the bones are articulated. Some are not, appearing to have been washed into place. No obvious tools or artifacts were found associated with the bones. The bulldozer driver who uncovered the first bones in 1971 expresses certainty that there were no tunnels or cracks in the extremely hard overlying layers of rock. The bones are partially replaced with malachite (a green mineral) and turquoise, thus appropriately named "Malachite Man".


Link

OK, it comes from a Christian source and we must be careful of bias, but it's certainly worth thinking about. I also read about some 120 million old human fossil that was discovered in Asia but could not find the link.

Shoran, I have spent my adult life trying to meld Science and faith together. They should not be separate from each other because a rational faith breeds rationality, compassion and understanding - repressed doubt leads to extremism, in any faith.



posted on Dec, 1 2007 @ 05:34 PM
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Also this mysterious find:

The discovery of an ancient fossil in Moroto, Uganda from 21 million years ago was the first sign of a major flaw in our models of human evolution. It is almost identical to a modern human lumbar vertebra.

But it was just one fossil against a world full of scientific opinion that humans, with their upright bipedal walking did not emerge until the chimpanzee-human split 6 million years ago


21 million yr human

I think the scientific paradigm is impossible for most scientists to oppose. I wonder what Einstein would think?



posted on Dec, 1 2007 @ 05:54 PM
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Consider that ants are still evolving because they still undergo mutation and are subject to survival pressures as a species. Ants are "more evolved" than humans.

If, in a fraction of the time it took the ant to flourish, we humans end up polluting the land, air and water so that we can no longer inhabit this planet, or if we obliterate ourselves in a nuclear holocaust, what sense does it make to consider our big brains a survival advantage?

Proverbs 6:6-8 says to "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest."

Ants live in decentralized colonies and behave according to local conditions. They don't take orders from the queen, but do like those around them do. I personally believe that for our big brains to be a survival advantage, we're going to have to learn to live in a more decentralized, localistic fashion.

The question posed by the thread has been answered, but I'll reiterate: evolution can't go backwards because it isn't going forwards. Evolution isn't goal-directed and isn't progressing towards anything in particular. Badge01 makes a good point about whales: from an anthropocentric perspective, whales may be viewed as having evolved backwards, but really, such a perspective doesn't take evolution on its own terms.



posted on Dec, 1 2007 @ 06:46 PM
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Originally posted by Heronumber0
But that does get closer to my point. If there is no direction just evolution, then there is no reason, apart from the usual Natural Selection factors, to stop men developing into apes. For example if grasslands were not found in a biome for a significant amount of time then, by your reasoning, Natural Selection would favour apes not men. Why don't we find genetic and anatomical features that favour climbing behaviour in jungle tribes?


Because either such a mutation has not presented itself or if it has presented itself (through longer fingers, a prehensile tail, etc.) it hasn't proven advantageous enough for enhanced survival that allowed the people with the mutation to propagate their genes farther than those without the mutation.



Oh yes, I've been thinking about that. what about this one:

Skeletons of ten perfectly modern humans have been excavated from fifty eight feet down in the Dakota Sandstone, over an area spanning about 50 by 100 feet. This formation is a member of the Lower Cretaceous, supposedly 140 million years old. It is known for its dinosaurs and is the same formation found at Dinosaur National Monument. At least four of the ten individuals are female. One is an infant. Some of the bones are articulated. Some are not, appearing to have been washed into place. No obvious tools or artifacts were found associated with the bones. The bulldozer driver who uncovered the first bones in 1971 expresses certainty that there were no tunnels or cracks in the extremely hard overlying layers of rock. The bones are partially replaced with malachite (a green mineral) and turquoise, thus appropriately named "Malachite Man".


Link

OK, it comes from a Christian source and we must be careful of bias, but it's certainly worth thinking about. I also read about some 120 million old human fossil that was discovered in Asia but could not find the link.


There are several possible explanations. Sure, they could be humans that are millions of years old. They could also be humans from the generally accepted time of humanity, but buried through some natural phenomenon that occurred at that time. They could be some other form of life that had a skeleton similar to humans from that time period, it could be a hoax, or ... heck, a number of other things. The bones by themselves do not present enough evidence to make a reasonable, logical conclusion. You'd need to carbon date them, determine whether or not they were human remains (or related), whether or not they were primates, etc. The site to which you've linked discusses none of that from what I can see, just bones found -> tough rock that's millions of years old == humans and dinosaurs living together. That's a leap of faith, not science.



Shoran, I have spent my adult life trying to meld Science and faith together. They should not be separate from each other because a rational faith breeds rationality, compassion and understanding - repressed doubt leads to extremism, in any faith.


There's nothing in science that in any way contradicts religion, as long as you don't look at religious texts/stories literally. But, you can't prove religion. Ever. If you were somehow able to prove it, it'd simply bring it down to the natural realm where likely another religion would be developed to replace it. If God is natural, mortal, like we are... then, where did God come from? So, you'd start the quest all over again, just higher.

I think what most atheists, agnostics, etc., tend to do is say, "I'm not going to accept something as fact without enough evidence to support it. Once that idea has been established as fact, I'm willing to change my acceptance as more information becomes available." It's much more difficult to change religious beliefs because, by design, they're absolute.



posted on Dec, 1 2007 @ 06:52 PM
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As other posters have presented as the environment dictates things may seem to "de evolve" but is is just natural selection and evolution going on.

Prime examples of this can be the Pygmy and Gigantic versions of animals. Various animals in response to a food supply have shrunk back to an ancestors size while keeping other features. It may look like it has gone "backwards" but has not. Kept isolated long enough, they will turn into it's own genetic variation on the theme, a new species.

Other species have lost abilities or body parts, but only because of natural selection working. For example, if the habitat of Africa where giraffes roam changed to mainly bushes, eventually giraffes would probably shrink in neck size as their necks evolved only due to their filling a niche. In that way they might look and actually be more "simplified", as the physical requirements necessary for such a long neck create many unique problems. It would still be natural selection and evolution, even though the end result might be more "simple" Another example of this would be penguins who have lost the ability to fly in exchange for other things.

Hope this made sense.



posted on Dec, 1 2007 @ 06:58 PM
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Originally posted by Heronumber0
21 million yr human

I think the scientific paradigm is impossible for most scientists to oppose. I wonder what Einstein would think?


I think Einstein would repeat 'god don't play with dice' and spend the rest of the extra bit of his life attempting to fight against the new fangled quantum mechanics...

You do know the 21 million year old bone is not human and Filler knows that?



posted on Dec, 1 2007 @ 07:01 PM
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Originally posted by pavil
As other posters have presented as the environment dictates things may seem to "de evolve" but is is just natural selection and evolution going on.


I think for those people who want to really assign a direction to evolution, here's how it should go:

Forward evolution == Life
Backwards evolution == Death

Done.



posted on Dec, 2 2007 @ 07:02 AM
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melatonin, I do not have any knowledge of anatomy so I cannot comment on the Moroto fossil. However, the nature of scientific evidence suggests that all evidence must be examined and evaluated. You cannot dismiss a 21 million year-old hominid fossil because the scientific orthodoxy says otherwise. Examine, analyse and evaluate please.

I am quite willing to believe that the conditions on Earth favour human evolution strongly and there is no inhibition to the evolution of many waves of humans. With human consciousness but with anatomical differences due to their particular environment and time.

The massive geological evolutions that continuously take place (e.g. the rock cycle) and other natural cycles may have obliterated traces of previous ancient human evolution. I don't know for sure but I am making a hypothesis based upon the neutrality of a Blind Watchmaker.

shoran - I agree with you - Science need not contradict religion but it is possible to use Science as a natural philosophy to comment on religion as an alternative philosophy. OK I agree that ID is a philosophy and not a Science but Science is also at fault. The evolutionary paradigm that humans evolved 2 million years ago cannot be allowed contradiction. Why? Because the top evolutionary scientists have agreed on that date - no anmalies can be accepted and this makes Science every bit as stubborn and closed-minded as their philosophical opposites numbers.



posted on Dec, 2 2007 @ 07:07 AM
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evolution is about surviving the here and now, if your species is alive now it works now, we are only as evolved as any other species that survives its environment today there is no greater path evolution has no plan its just an answer as to why we are what we are, we are products of our environment there is no backwards and forwards ,just right here right now



posted on Dec, 3 2007 @ 09:30 AM
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Let me step in and add some of the things I've learned while working on dinosaur fossils for the museum...


Originally posted by shoran

Originally posted by FlyersFan
backwards evolution?

If we keep pumping crap into the environment ... and into our bodies ... I think it WILL happen. It may already be happening. People appear to be getting dumber and dumber. Seriously .. look at the state the world is in.


Which wouldn't be backwards evolution. It would be evolution that favored lower intelligence for some sort of survival reason (perhaps less oxygen/energy used by the brain and more for the rest of the body). As has already been mentioned in this thread, evolution doesn't have a direction. It simply goes where it goes.


This is correct -- there's no such thing as "backwards evolution." HOWEVER... we do see certain features evolve in one species and then evolve in another species, so they're continually being "re-invented." A good example of this is the long fangs of the animals called "saber toothed cats." There's more than one species of them, and they appear at different times in the fossil record.


My opinion is that people are becoming less and less intelligent because they're lazy and refuse to learn. I don't think evolution really plays a part in that, though, I could be mistaken.


It is social more than environmental. In areas of the world where information is valued over entertainment, you'll find they're more aware of world and science events than we are.

However... back to "de-evolution."

If it WAS possible, we would see a lineage of fossils that inexplicably began losing the features that they'd evolved. For example, modern horses would begin getting smaller and shorter and would begin growing extra toes until they were dog sized and had five toes. We have never seen this happen.



posted on Dec, 3 2007 @ 10:02 AM
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Originally posted by Heronumber0
Also this mysterious find:

The discovery of an ancient fossil in Moroto, Uganda from 21 million years ago was the first sign of a major flaw in our models of human evolution. It is almost identical to a modern human lumbar vertebra.

But it was just one fossil against a world full of scientific opinion that humans, with their upright bipedal walking did not emerge until the chimpanzee-human split 6 million years ago


21 million yr human

I think the scientific paradigm is impossible for most scientists to oppose. I wonder what Einstein would think?


Einstein wouldn't say anything, because his knowledge of anatomy was about the same as my knowledge of basketball.

Now... I went to "primary sources" to see what the skeletons of apes, Morotopithecus, and homo sapeins look like.

Here's a museum with fossils of Morotopithecus:
www.abouthumanevolution.org...

And something very anatomical:
www.sciencedirect.com... _acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=70ee16dc136bed6c52d4624bb016cadb

Same info in modern English:
findarticles.com...

And THIS is a photo of all the scraps of bone that they've found from one site:
www.bu.edu...

The bone shown in Filler's book is the same one shown above. He also gives us a nice comparison of the vertebra of chimps, gorillas, and humans:
www.uprightape.net...

The problem is, I'm not sure we're comparing apples to apples.... the same vertebra in all of the species. Vertebra vary greatly in design as you go from the head to the tail, and I don't see a good id on any of these.

Ooookayyyy... so now that we've gotten all that out of the way.... let's have a look at some of the claims:

* that the anatomy is similar to h. sapiens
---- this is true.
* that it supported upright walking
---- true to SOME extent, according to everyone that looks at the bone
* that the spine is more flexible than that of a gorilla
---- true.
* that it walked upright
---- HUGE leap in logic, and isn't supported by the shape of the shoulder bones ("glenoid cavity")
* talks about "hox genetics"
---- They haven't recovered any genetic material from the specimen.

So.... ancestral to humans, probably yes, with the flexiblility (not as great as modern humans) that would later allow us to stand upright. As such, it's a very good key transitional fossil in the hominid lineage. It's partway (anatomically) between the true apes and the earliest "true humans" (Australopithecus ... like the fossil, Lucy.)

But standing upright? Not for very long. Filler jumped the gun in basing his ideas on a single vertebra instead of using multiple pieces of the skeleton. Some of his other ideas don't seem to hold water, but I'll reserve judgement for later.



posted on Dec, 3 2007 @ 04:46 PM
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I completely understand Heronumber0's original post. It's something I also see as a problem for unguided evolution.

Things on earth have evolved from simpler to more complex and they don't seem to go the other way. People bringing up examples of land mammals returning to the sea is not valid because they didn't become less complex or go backwards evolutionary speaking. Whales have a sonar system, a system to avoid the bends, and additions like those that land mammals don't have.

What we don't see is whales going from mammals back to simpler fish. We don't see humans devolve to ape-like creatures, nor mammals to reptiles, nor reptiles to fish, nor fish to microscopic multi-celled organisms, nor multi-cell to single celled organisms. All of those types of life are completely suited to survival because they all exist today and have so for billions of years, so there is no reason evolution shouldn't also go in that direction, but it doesn't.

We also don't see parallel evolution. What I mean by that is today we should still see single celled organisms evolve into multi-celled, fish to amphibians, reptiles to mammals, the invention of sex, apes to man. These things should be happening multiple times out of sync with each other but in parallel. But we don't see that either.

It's as if nature had a check list and when it met one goal, it crossed that off the list never to be visited again. These are big problems with Darwinism as the mechanism for evolution. It also says that if man wipes himself out, that will be the end of man permanently. Or if all mammals are killed off, forget about ever seeing another mammal.



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